The average person probably sees nothing wrong with their bathroom and shower habits. Yet our seemingly-normal bathroom routine comes with an array of health hazards that can easily lead to a serious illness. And that’s just one out of many habits that need to be broken: read on to find out what you’re doing wrong.
1. Change That Toothbrush
We see a toothbrush, we associate it with white teeth and sparking smiles. However, if people knew what lived on their beloved toothbrush, they’d think twice. According to Huffpost, a University of Manchester study concluded that over 10 million germs are living on the average toothbrush. How do you feel about brushing your teeth now?
Among the germs are notorious names like E. coli and staph. San Francisco-based prosthodontist Ann Wei has stated, “In an unbrushed mouth, there can be as many germs as a dirty bathroom floor.” You can easily keep your mouth clean by routinely soaking your toothbrush in a cup of vinegar.
2. Wash Those Toes
While nobody will admit it, when it comes to showering there are vast numbers of people who neglect to soap up their feet. Dollar Shave Club concluded in an article that up to 28% of men don’t wash their feet in the shower. Just because the feet manage to keep a clean appearance and spend the duration of a shower drenched in water doesn’t mean they stay clean.
Our feet get exposed to a lot. Day after day, the feet are sweating within the confines of socks. Even if they don’t smell bad, they are still collecting a ton bacteria. That doubles for folks who walk around home without socks on. Eventually all that filth from the floor ends up in your bed.
3. Close The Lid While Flushing
Most people don’t think twice about flushing their toilet. After all, why should it give them any cause to pause? People go about their business, they flush, they leave. Someone who’s hip to the dangers caused by careless flushing would go about this in a completely different manner.
When you flush a toilet, objects aren’t just going down, they are also flying up and spreading across your restroom. Particles of the waste deposited in a toilet is able to fly up to six feet away from the toilet bowl during each flush. A way to stop that nastiness from spreading is to close the toilet lid when you finish using the restroom and then flush.
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4. Change Your Loofah Often
Most would look upon their hanging loofah and see the single shower item that has to be completely harmless. It’s covered in soap everyday, so it has to be clean, right? Wrong. One needs to ask themselves how long that same loofah has been hanging in their shower. Most likely, it’s been there for months, and, in some cases, even years.
While you are scrubbing yourself, your loofah is gathering quite the collection of dead skin cells and bacteria from your body. To make things worse, the warm environment of your bathroom allows them all to party on continuously on the loofah. A healthy alternative to the loofah would be to just wash yourself by hand. However, if you absolutely need a loofah, air drying it can lower bacteria populations.
5. Don’t Use Scented Soaps
People just adore their scented soaps — and why wouldn’t they? With vibes of exotic luxury, these soaps can turn even the most basic bathrooms into a tropical rainforest or a Greek island. They are such a sensation that a shop specializing in scented soaps can be found at just about every shopping mall. That said, these soaps can do more harm than anything.
This especially rings true for those people with sensitive skin. If your skin feels irritated following a shower, you would not be wrong to suspect that your bar of scented soap is the culprit. The chemicals used to create fragrances also tend to have that kind of effect on people.
6. Air Out Your Toilet Brush
If there is one bathroom appliance that has a rough job, it’s the toilet brush. From the moment it’s purchased through the moment it’s tossed out, the toilet brush has few fond memories to look back on. Given the moisture that come with its holder, the appliance is a breeding ground for germs.
Those germs easily multiply with every use, as people usually brush away the inside of their toilet and immediately put the brush back into its holder. To prevent this, you can simply let your toilet brush dry off before placing it back into its holder. Giving it a quick rinse also wouldn’t be a bad idea.
7. Don’t Leave Your Razor In The Shower
Much like the beloved loofah, a razor that’s made its home in the shower basically becomes a colony for bathroom bacteria. While the small tool may appear completely harmless, all the ridges on razors make great hiding places for germs.
While bacteria on a razor is somewhat of an inevitability no matter where it’s stored, a steamy and damp shower will allow the little beasts to fester and thrive. In an effort to avoid such a nasty razor, you ought to change it often and keep it stored in a dry area. This will pave the way for a future marked by infection-free shaves.
8. Thoroughly Rinse Yourself
Stepping out of the shower with a little bit of soap on your back might not seem like anything serious. That said, believe it or not, taking a halfhearted rinse can actually result in skin irritation and clogged pores. Some clogged pores can easily lead to acne on the shoulders and back.
This often happens without people even realizing that they still had products on them. You can help avoid a bad case of “back-ne” by simply rinsing yourself more thoroughly. When washing your hair, tilt your head to the side, and let all the shampoo and conditioner flow to the floor instead of down your back.
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9. Change Your Towel Every Few Days
When you get out of the shower and dry yourself off with your trusty towel, you don’t really expect the towel to get dirty. After all, you’re only using it after you wash yourself. Some people will use the same towel for up to two weeks and see absolutely no problems with that.
Spoiler alert: your towel isn’t as dependable as you might think. Much like the loofah, that bathroom towel is collecting its fair share of dead skin cells. When you simply hang it in your humid bathroom, that towel can easily sustain rapid bacterial growth. When it comes to towels, they should be air-dried, and swapped out every few days.
10. Don’t Rub Yourself With A Towel
When you soaked from head to toe, few things feel as nice as rubbing yourself down with a big fluffy towel. There are a few ways of drying yourself with a towel, but rubbing is the most effective option. Sadly, the pleasant sensation actually comes with quite a few downsides.
Firstly, the swift motion removes lipids, proteins, and fatty acids from the skin, which usually protect your skin from irritation. Many dermatologists recommend that you dry yourself by simply patting the towel against your skin. Patting hardly seems as effective as rubbing, but nevertheless it will still get the job done.
11. Moisturize More
Once you’ve taken a nice hot shower, you likely want to do nothing more than lounge around with a good book or dig into some of your favorite Netflix shows. You might delay putting on some moisturizer until the morning. However, by not doing so right away, you’re really putting your skin care on the back burner.
When you skin is clean and warm from the shower, it’s in the perfect state for absorbing some moisturizer. The timing couldn’t be better, because you can moisten up your skin immediately after having lost all its moisture in the hot shower. If you treasure healthy skin, you don’t want to skip out on this important step.
12. Scrub That Tub
While hot showers are fine and dandy, baths have a charm of their own. Few things can beat a relaxing bath in a beautiful atmosphere. However, you’ll be doing yourself a huge disservice if that bathtub isn’t glistening. Bathtubs should be cleaned at least once a week.
Nobody is exactly jumping for joy when they have to get down on their hands and knees to scrub, but it’s worth it. If the bathtub isn’t clean, you’ll effectively be bathing in dirt and bacteria. This is especially true if you have roommates. You definitely don’t want to find yourself bathing in their grime and sweat.
NEXT: What have you been doing wrong with your hands all this time?
13. Hot Water Doesn’t Always Kill Germs
Most think that they can increase their hand-washing efficiency by simply making the water scorching hot. After all, hot water does kill germs, right? According to National Geographic, the answer is: not quite. When it comes to hand-washing, cold water has the exact same effect on our hands as warm or hot water.
The temperature doesn’t really matter when it comes to killing germs. If you really want to kill a significant amount of pathogens when washing your hands, you can wash them at 100 degrees Celsius. That will definitely make your hands cleaner, but putting your hands in scalding water isn’t recommended.
14. Heat Up Bathroom Surfaces
The bathroom is usually one of the last places in the home we feel like cleaning. However, seeing as it’s where we clean ourselves in each and every way, it ends up being the dirtiest room in the house. In order to get in a thorough clean that really makes a difference, you’re going to want to heat up the surfaces.
Heating your bathtub, sink, and floor by even 10 degrees can end up making one heck of difference at the end of the day. HGTV published an article stating that by letting hot water sit on the various bathroom surfaces for just a few minutes, you can actually end up doubling the effectiveness of the cleaning routine.
15. Don’t Use Wet Wipes
On paper, wet wipes trump toilet paper on every occasion. They are scented, moist rather than rough, and they can clean you on a much more thorough level. However, these amazing wipes aren’t at all friendly for our environment, nor are they helpful for our plumbing.
Plumbing experts revealed on Scott English Plumbing that wet wipes don’t break apart like toilet paper. When flushed down the toilet, there is a good chance that these wipes will get caught in a drain and end up forming a mass buildup in pipes. Plumbers have removed wet wipes that were there for months.
16. Easy On Exfoliating
Once in a while, a good scrub could do your skin wonders. However, this isn’t an action that you should do on a daily or even weekly basis. One of the reasons to refrain from constant exfoliation is that your skin actually exfoliates itself by renewing every 27 days.
While one might think that they’re doing themselves some favors by exfoliating their skin on a daily basis, they are actually destroying fresh skin cells and causing a great deal of skin irritation, paving the way for infection. Only exfoliate your skin when you notice that you actually have a buildup of dead skin cells.
17. Avoid Hard Water
While you won’t exactly be able to spot hard water just by looking at it, it’s something that you definitely want to avoid showering in. Hard water is rich in magnesium and calcium, and while these minerals have a positive side too, they’ll do a number on your skin and hair when coming out of your shower head.
Having these minerals raining down upon you can easily lead to annoying skin breakouts and can cause buildup on your hair. If your hair happens to be dyed, hard water will cause the colors to fade in no time at all. If you find yourself unable to change your bathing situation, you can protect your hair with a clarifying shampoo.
18. Use Ear Q-Tips Less
The thought of earwax building up in our ear canals is nothing short of haunting. However, all that yucky orange is just a sheep in wolf’s clothing. It is actually the ear’s sole line of defense against the dust and dirt that would otherwise wreak havoc on an unprotected ear.
You may take a Q-tip to your ear and feel like you’re giving the canals a well-needed cleaning. Sadly, what you’re actually doing is opening the door to dust, dirt and other harmful substances. That said, Q-tips aren’t entirely useless; they’re just being used the wrong way. Instead of jamming them all up in your ear canals, just wipe clean the outer crevices of your ears.
19. Don’t Use Soap Dishes
To see a bar of soap without its accompanying soap dish is like seeing a king without a throne. Soap dishes just have a way of tying a bathroom counter together. Imagine for a second how awkward it would be to just see a lone soap bar sitting forlornly on the counter.
However, that’s actually the better path to go down. Returning your soap bar to that same dish use after use is creating a breeding ground for bacteria. To make matters worse, you’re going to likely spread that bacteria all over your face and hands with every use. It’s best that you ditch the soap bar all together and start using liquid body wash.
20. Replace Old Razors
When it comes to bathroom items that need replacement on a regular basis, the razor is at the top of that list. However, it is rarely ever switched out as much as it should be. If your skin gets red and inflamed after a shave, it means that you should have replaced it weeks back.
An aged blade can be much more dangerous than one might think. With every shave the razor collects a certain amount of bacteria. That bacteria mixed with a cut can lead to a pretty nasty infection. Moreover, sometimes you can cut your face and not even know it. A used-up blade can leave a number of microscopic tears in the face, which means you can get an infection without seeing why.
21. Soap Needs Rinsing
Whenever our hands or face need a washing, we can always turn to our trusty soap bar to clean us up. That said, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the soap bar is far from being as clean as we think it is. It can easily become a vessel for a number of pathogenic organisms.
While their research stated that it’s highly unlikely that it’ll transfer to your face and hands, one can still be on the safe side by rinsing their soap bar before use. This will definitely clear it of many of the germs that like to settle in moist environments.
22. Don’t Leave Your Toothbrush Near A Toilet
As if the toothbrush doesn’t carry enough sanitary issues after being in a mouth twice a day, it also has to worry about its proximity to fellow bathroom resident, the toilet. The force of a toilet flushing can propel particles of whatever was in it up to six feet away.
As one can imagine, this leaves a number of bathroom items vulnerable to a windstorm of bacteria. Leaving a toothbrush right by your toilet is something one should never do. Alternatively, it must be stored somewhere dry and in an upright position. A cabinet would be the best option. Even a bathroom counter-top poses a number of risks due to dirty water splashing upon it.
23. Get A Soap That Really Moisturizes
If you have no idea why your skin feels so dry all the time, you might want to take a second look at your soap. There are plenty of soaps on the market that are lacking any moisturizing agents. If you end up with one of these soaps in your possession, you can end up with some very dry skin.
Next time you go to your local drugstore, you can do yourself a favor by seeking out and purchasing soap that has the word “moisturizing” on the label. If it doesn’t have it on the label, look at the ingredients and look to see if it has any stearic acid in it.
24. Choose A Cold Shower Over A Hot One
Even when it’s a boiling summer day, chances are, you’ll still usually opt for a hot shower over a cold one. When it comes to physical sensations, we can’t blame anyone for choosing hot. A cold shower will certainly shake your foundation and rip you out of your comfort zone.
That said, taking a cold shower also delivers a ton of benefits. According to MSN, a cold shower can lower stress, increase blood circulation, promote fat loss, drain the lymphatic system, boost emotional resilience, and even help with men’s testosterone levels. Taking all that into account, a cold shower is definitely worth the discomfort.
25. Shower After The Gym
Nothing does the body right quite like a late-night workout after a very long day. Once one is done pumping some iron or running the treadmill, they are usually in dire need of a shower. That said, we might not exactly feel in the mood for a shower. Heck, we’re going to wake up and take a shower anyway before work, so it might as well wait until morning, right? Wrong.
While it may seem like no big deal in the moment, the consequence is basically inviting a bunch of bacteria into bed with you. When you’re at the gym, your body is pressed up against machines being used by dozens of other sweaty gym goers. If you don’t rinse that off of you, it can fester and eventually lead to a skin infection.
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